The Victoria Vanishes, Paperback Book
3.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


One night, Arthur Bryant witnesses a drunk middle-aged lady coming out of a pub in a London backstreet.

The next morning, she is found dead at the exact spot where their paths crossed.

Even more disturbing, the pub has vanished. Bryant is convinced that he saw them as they were over a century before, but the elderly detective has already lost the funeral urn of an old friend.

Could he be losing his mind as well? Then it becomes clear that a number of women have met their ends in London pubs.

It seems a silent, secret killer is at work, striking in full view...and yet nobody has a clue how, or why - or where he'll attack next.

The likeliest suspect seems to be a mental patient with a reason for killing.

But knowing who the killer is and catching him are two very different propositions.

As their new team at the Peculiar Crimes Unit goes in search of a madman, the octogenarian detectives ready themselves for the pub crawl of a lifetime, and come face to face with their own mortality.


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I used to love Christopher Fowler’s works – and I still do, just not as much as when he included the supernatural. I first met Bryant and May in Rune and loved them in Darkest Day; Soho Black and Disturbia were also good although lacking in the occult atmosphere of the first two. The Peculiar Crimes Unit with its two ancient stars had lots of fans and I suspect Fowler wanted to encourage new readers who would eschew anything that smacked of ‘horror’ hence the reincarnation of the couple in a series of straight forward mysteries, of which this is the sixth. Bryant sees a woman go into a pub late one night: the next day the woman turns up dead and the pub has vanished – it turns out it was demolished over 80 years previously. Is Bryant as senile as some say, or did he witness a supernatural event? Could there be another explanation?There is: a serial killer is on the lose, targeting older single women in pubs throughout Greater London, and its up to Bryant and May to solve the mystery before the Peculiar Crimes Unit is closed down forever. If this sounds familiar, it’s because much the same scenario occurs in almost every one of the new series. Despite their acting head [of at least a decade] Raymond Land doing his best to keep the Unit open, the offices are closed but the octogenarian pair move operations to Bryant’s flat where, with the help of the indefatigable sergeant Janice Longbright and John May’s agoraphobic daughter April they solve the puzzle. A good read and excellently written with Fowler’s trademark love of London and mastery of its lore, yet something is missing, that quirky, spine-tinglingly fascinating flirtation with the occult, the sense of lurking dread and real danger that literally haunted them in some of their earlier investigations.